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Top 10 Retractions of 2016

Top 10 Retractions of 2016
A look at this year’s most memorable retractions

By Retraction Watch | December 21, 2016

For the past few years, there has been one retraction per year that has really captured the world’s attention. In 2015, it was the retraction of a Science paper about gay marriage. The year before, it was the retraction of Nature papers on STAP stem cells. This year didn’t see nearly as many headline-grabbing retractions, although the story of the Karolinska Institute’s Paolo Macchiarini—who earned two expressions of concern (and was found guilty of misconduct in one paper this week)—garnered lots of press.

Still, 2016 has been the second consecutive year marked by more than 650 retractions. There has been heavy criticism of papers that touched on hot-button issues, plus some particularly curious cases in science publishing that made us scratch our heads. Here are our picks of the 10 most notable retractions of 2016, in no particular order.

1. In October, the Journal of Biological Chemistry retracted 19 papers coauthored by cancer biologist Jin Cheng, formerly at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida. That’s something you don’t see every day. To learn more, we contacted Moffitt, who sent us a batch of email correspondence with the journal, which showed us it all began after Cheng asked to correct one paper. When he wouldn’t supply the journal with the raw data behind the figures in question, the journal took a second look at many of his other papers, and apparently didn’t like what it saw.

2. It’s every researcher’s worst nightmare: a manuscript gets rejected during peer review, then shows up later—published by one of the reviewers. Michael Dansinger of Tufts Medical Center took his heartache into his own hands, publishing a letter to the reviewer who stole his paper in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the journal that had originally rejected his manuscript during review. (The reviewer’s version of the paper—which contained the lifted work—was retracted in September.)

3. Does religious language belong in scientific papers? Not according to the backlash PLOS ONE received after ...


LA Times article on recent Congressional action that is behind Trump's Nuclear tweet

Congress scrapped this one word from the law, opening the door to a space arms race

David Willman

By removing a single word from legislation governing the military, Congress has laid the groundwork for both a major shift in U.S. nuclear defense doctrine and a costly effort to field space-based weaponry.

Experts say the changes, approved by overwhelming majorities in both the House and Senate, could aggravate tensions with Russia and China and prompt a renewed nuclear arms race. The bill awaits action by President Obama. The White House has not said what he will do.

For decades, America’s defense against nuclear attack has rested on twin pillars: The nation’s homeland missile defense system is designed to thwart a small-scale, or “limited,” attack by the likes of North Korea or Iran. As for the threat of a large-scale strike by China or Russia, the prospect of massive U.S. retaliation is supposed to deter both from ever launching missiles.

Central to this strategy was a one-word qualifier – “limited” -- used to define the mission of the homeland defense system. The language was carefully crafted to avoid reigniting an arms race among the superpowers.

Now, with virtually no public debate, bipartisan majorities in Congress have removed the word “limited” from the nation’s missile defense policy. They did so in giving final approval over the last month to the year-end defense bill, the National Defense Authorization Act....

The Military Industrial Complex is not only alive and well, it fully intends to maintain it's stranglehold on the US Treasury.
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